9 Green Milestones to Be Grateful For

It can feel quite disheartening to see the state of environmental progress in the United States with respect to the federal government. However, it’s not all bad news for the environment. There are a lot of amazing initiatives and milestones happening all over the world. Here are 11 recent developments to be thankful for:

1. Spain Closing Most of Its Coal Mines by the End of This Year

The Spanish government has been working closely with the coal mining industry to close coal mines. They plan to close almost all of the coal mines in Spain by the end of this year. Yes, that’s 2018.

To ease the transition, plans are in place to help displaced workers. Early retirement is being offered to miners over 48, projects are planned to restore the environment in communities with coal pits, and workers will be retrained to work in green industries.

This gives a roadmap for other countries to follow, where coal mines can be shut down and workers aren’t left with a lump of coal, but instead, they have retirement or a bright future in green technologies to look forward to.

Read more at The Guardian.

2. A Win for the Amazon Rainforest

According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Colombia’s rainforests got a boost in July of this year. The Serrania de Chiribiquete National Park was increased in size from 6.9 million acres to 10.6 million acres, making it the world’s largest tropical rainforest park. The park was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ensuring that future generations will benefit from this protected national (and world) treasure.

Read more and see stunning photos of Serrania de Chiribiquete at World Wildlife Fund.

3. Creating Water Reserves in Mexico

More from WWF: On June 2nd, 2018, Mexico’s President signed a series of presidential decrees to create water reserves throughout the country. Eugene Barrios, who directs WWF-Mexico’s water program, states, “Water reserves focus on water when it’s still in the ecosystem, where it does all sorts of important things—transporting sediments, keeping riverbeds clean, providing water for different plant and animal species, and supporting human activities like fishing and tourism. This is a landmark decision because it’s a proactive approach to water management for both humans and the eco-system.”

For more details, visit World Wildlife Fund’s website.

4. Lego Made from Sustainable Sugarcane

Lego is one step closer to its goal of using sustainable products to create all of its core products. Lego’s plant pieces are now made from plastic derived from sustainable sugarcane as opposed to petroleum-based plastics. Eco-friendly leaves, trees, and bushes began appearing in Lego sets this year. Load-bearing bricks are a bigger challenge, but with an investment of $164 million in a Sustainable Materials Centre, Lego is well on its way to meeting its target of sustainable products for 2030.

Read more at Lego.com

5. Clean Up Begins on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Work has begun to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This mass of plastic debris floating in the ocean is estimated to cover an area the size of Texas, and possibly as large as Russia.

In September of this year, a 2,000 foot boom was deployed to start cleaning plastic waste from the ocean. The clean-up device works like a giant net to trap plastic garbage, which will be removed by supporting vessels every few months.

The project was developed by The Ocean Cleanup, an organization founded by 24-year old Boyan Slat. He had an idea, and he made it happen. It’s amazing how one person can make a huge difference!

Watch the deployment on the local CBS San Francisco website

6. Jamaica Bans Plastic Straws, Styrofoam and Single Use Plastic Bags

Jamaica announced a ban on straws, styrofoam and bags to begin on January 1st of 2019. This is huge when you consider that only a couple of months ago, the Governor of California signed a bill banning restaurants from automatically giving out single-use plastic straws. Jamaica, where half of the country’s total foreign exchange earnings and a quarter of jobs are from tourism, made a huge statement by outright banning plastic straws. Jamaica’s comprehensive ban will help keep plastic waste out of our oceans.

7. More Corporations Commit to 100{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} Renewable Power

RE100 is a global initiative of influential companies working towards the goal of running their operations on 100{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} renewable energy. They recently welcomed 13 new members, including Capital One, Sony Corporation, McKinsey & Company, Royal Bank of Scotland, WeWork, clothing giant PVH, Decathlon, Lyft, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India, Fuyo General Lease Co., and TRIDL, and the first members from Turkey (Gürmen Group) and Latin America (Grupo Bimbo).

Currently, there are 155 companies who have joined the RE100 initiative and are committed to 100{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} renewable power. Members include the biggest and most recognizable brands in the world, including Apple, Google, IKEA, BMW, Carlsberg, CITI, CocaCola, Goldman Sachs, GM, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, Walmart and more.

So even though some governments may be dragging their heels on renewable energy, this corporate initiative will continue leading the way and building momentum for 100{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} sustainable energy.

You can check out the entire list of member companies on the RE100 website

8. Sweden Reaches Its Renewables Targets 12 Years Ahead of Schedule

A big round of applause to Sweden for hitting its 2030 renewable energy targets 12 years ahead of schedule. By the end of this year, Sweden will have 3,681 wind turbines installed. This gives the country enough capacity to meet their target of adding 18 terawatt-hours of renewable energy by 2030, only they’ve done it in 2018. It just goes to show that change can happen quickly.

Read more about how Sweden achieved this amazing goal on the Bloomberg website.

9. China Hits Carbon Reduction Goals 12 Years Ahead of Schedule

Speaking of being ahead of schedule with environmental goals, China hit peak carbon levels (as committed to in the Paris climate) 12 years earlier than its original goal of 2020. China has been investing heavily in wind and solar power, reducing coal consumption, and boosting demand for electric vehicles.

You can read all the details on The Daily Beast.


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